The Great Escape

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This is a story about Smudge an Anthropomorphic dog who understands the English language. His owner dies and he is sent to a dog prison to be exterminated where he finds lots of other dogs also waiting for death row, but being a tough character he refuses to give up and plans his escape.. What kind of escape plan can Smudge devise and even if he is lucky enough to succeed against all the odds, how can he rescue all the other dogs in 'death row' against the might and power of dog wardens and officialdom ? If they even succeed what can they do to avoid recapture while 'on the run' out in the wide hostile world.? Smudge needs a Pal, a friend, and a highly intelligent and gifted one as well, but where can he find such a person or such an animal to help him. ? Can a mere dog, even such a gifted one as Smudge, outwit everyone and overcome all the terrible hurdles that face him, and still succeed. ?

Children / Fantasy
P.G. Ray
Age Rating:

Chapter 1: All about Me

My name is ‘Smudge’. Goodness knows why they decided to give me such a name ? What is wrong with ‘Butch’ or ‘Sam’ or ‘Wolf’ or any of the other usual names. ? I have repeatedly listened to their discussions about me, but have never heard them talk about the reason for giving me such a name ! So, it seems like I’m stuck with it. I tried hard, when they first started calling me, to ignore them, and not respond, in the hope that they might realise that I didn’t like the name, but that often meant loosing out on a nice juicy meal, or not being taken for a walk, so eventually I gave in. I do admit however that I blush a lot when my master says to a friend of his, “Oh her name is Smudge” ! I turn my head away in disgust, but nobody seems to care. I suppose if I was one of them then I could complain and have it changed, or at least give them the benefit of my strong views, but unfortunately I’m a dog, so although I understand English I cannot speak it. If I could speak it whoever would listen to me, and they might even lock me up and say I’m a ‘mad dog’ !

I remember when I was a very young puppy my master at that time was a silly old girl who kept telling me “go into the garden Smudge and do your ‘jobs’ ! How was I to know what ‘jobs’ meant, although after a while, when I poo’d in the porch and got scolded, I quickly learnt that what it meant was to go and poo in the garden, after all it was so much more comfortable sitting in the corner to do my jobs, as opposed to going out in the rain and sitting down on the soaking grass to do it. ! Even then the old girl used to scream at me for ruining her lawn so that she could not cut the grass with poo flying all over the place. !! But what was I supposed to do ? Carry a plastic bag outside and poo into it ?

One day she went out to cut the grass and walked around picking up my poo with a trowel and stuffing it through the hedge into the neighbour’s garden !! Can you imagine that ? Putting my poo into somebody else’s garden. ! Even dogs don’t do such nasty things, so being such a good dog, I saved her all that trouble and walked into a neighbouring field and poo’d on that instead. ! That seemed to please her as she often said to me “Smudge, what are you doing with your poo ? I never find any on the lawn these days”. ? What a silly nit she was.. That was one of the many occasions when I wished I really could talk. !

The other ‘bone of contention’ between us was my preference for sleeping on a nice warm cushion on the sitting room.sofa ! Why should she object, was I not her ‘pet’. Anyway, I got scolded so often about this that I eventually had to give it up and go and sleep on this old rotten and stinking carpet which she deemed was fit enough for a dog to sleep on. ! What she didn’t know, because she was at times a bit ‘woolly headed’ was that I spent most of my sleeping hours on the nice soft old chair, which was conveniently left in the same room as my dirty old blanket. !

Another point of contention between us was the awful ‘muck’ she used to put into my bowl for me to eat. ! It was so bad that no self respecting dog would dream of eating it. ! How did I overcome this problem ? Well it wasn’t too difficult. I just pushed my nose under the bowl and up ended it and its contents all over the floor ! She might be ‘woolly headed’ but even she eventually got the message. ! I heard her talking to the local ‘Vet’ about what I was doing with my food, and he must have suggested that she try some of his good dog food. I heard her saying “Oh should I” and next day I saw her return from shopping carrying a nice looking bag with a picture of a dog on it. She duly poured some of this into my bowl, and from thereon in I really enjoyed my food. ! I kept hearing her muttering away about “the awful cost of the dog food”, to which I took exception. Was I not worth spending a few £’s on ? You cannot expect to keep a good Pet happy without it costing just a little money, the stingy old girl.

After this I decided I would eat lots more, and if that made me too fat, she would have to take me for more walks to keep my weight down. Being a woman I needed to look slim anyway, or the local guys would not be interested in me. ! All of this actually happened because of the Cat food. ! I don’t like cats, they are too bossy and aloof and their claws are too sharp as well. ‘She’ has a cat and feeds it lovely cat food. I was very partial to this food and used to enjoy eating it whenever I could, as cats have a habit of eating in bits and pieces and leaving lots behind. ! She was always complaining about the amount of food the cat was eating, not knowing that it was actually me eating it. I enjoyed this situation for many months but then one day I got caught. She must have been walking in her bare feet as I did not hear here coming and she caught me tucking into the cat food. ! She exploded and was yelling at me lots of three letter words etc. I slunk away into the garden and hid myself at the back of the shed. Later when I returned she gave out more and said how naughty I was and how much it had cost her and how she blamed the cat, but all the time it was me. ! From then on she placed the cat food up on the window sill where I couldn’t get it, so that was the end of my cat food period, and the return to my ‘nose tipping’ of my own food until she visited the Vet. !

One day I was sitting nice and quiet on my ‘dirty old’ rug, when in popped some of her friends, to have what these humans called a ‘chat’. I usually crept away during these ‘chat’ sessions as I could not stand the silly jokes they were supposed to be laughing at, and these ladies do really get up to some awful gossip about people who they called the ‘unwashed’, and how was I supposed to know what they meant by such descriptions ? Anyway, on this day, I decided to loiter around because one of these old ladies had brought her dog with her. ! Not that I was really interested in the dog, as it appeared to be another woman, at least so it seemed as it had all this hair sticking straight up in the air, and bits of it had been tied together in knots, and it looked like one of those African girls who do such things with their hair, but this one even had ribbons tied around its ears, and even on its tail ! I thought it looked a right mess, but I decided I had better be on my best behaviour, and not bite the thing, or I might not get fed or taken for a walk for a whole week as punishment. !

Anyway, it’s a good job I did stay because their conversation turned to dogs.. ! I don’t mean that their conversation was bad, just that they were actually talking about me and my kind and all other kinds of dogs.. Little did I know at the start, how much I wished I had ‘not’ stayed as I was later to learn something that shook me rigid. In fact it upset me so much I almost ‘peed’ on her famous carpet. It all started with ‘herself’ saying “Oh my Smudge has been doctored”. Doctored.. ? What did doctored mean. ? What had the old girl done to me. ? I went rushing off out to the yard, via the ‘dog flap’, why did I have to have a dog flap in order to go out into the yard, why not a proper door ? I went to see ‘Henry’, one of my best mates. I asked Henry, “what does doctored mean” ? “Haha old dear, (as if I was old, and certainly not his DEAR) you have been ‘put under the knife’.he said. ! ‘Put under the knife’, what the heck was he talking about. ? “Explain” I said to him, “or I will not let you play ‘man & wife’ with me ever again” !

Well, to cut a long story short (haha, there goes my humour again) ’being put under the knife’ or ‘doctored’ meant that the Vet had cut me open and taken away my womb, so that I could not have any babies. !! I almost fainted at this ‘revelation’. No babies ? I cannot ever have any babies. !! Oh my god, whatever gave these humans the right to take away my ability to have baby pups. ? I had actually been looking forward to the time, when I am properly grown up, to having some lovely fluffy pups, to feed, and to lick, and to play with and have a great ‘rumble tumble’ of a time. ! I was really upset. So upset in fact that I decided to go into one of my ‘depressive’ stages. The old Girl doesn’t like these ‘moods’ and ‘depressive’ stages I go into as it makes her worry, AND it costs her money to take me to the Vet again. !

While I was with Henry I decided to ask him about the dog that her friend had brought to the house, so I explained to Henry about it and described how it was all tied up with bows and ribbons and had its hair combed up into lumps. Henry had a great laugh and said “that’s probably a Pekinese, you need to be careful with a dog like that” ! “why” I asked. ? “Well” said Henry “those dogs are supposed to be ‘special’ so they get pampered and treated like a human baby, and get special food, a special bed, special attention to their looks, etc”. “Those dogs usually belong to ‘Spinsters’ and they are very protective of them, so you be careful and don’t upset it or you really will be in the ‘dog box’.” ! Hmm, I thought to myself, why should they get all this special treatment. ? so I decided to hate them from now on.

“Incidentally” I said to Henry, “what is a ’Spinster” ? “You really are ignorant aren’t you Ducky” he said. I hated that name ‘Ducky’ and this time I decided to protest so I pissed on his patch and that got him annoyed. “A spinster” said Henry, “Is a woman who has never been married, and usually hate men”. ! “Well” I said, “my owner has never been married so I can call her a Spinster too”. When I got back home the ‘spinsters’ friend, the other Spinster, had left, but my owner was annoyed and said to me “Smudge, where have you been”? “You should have stayed here and entertained my friends lovely little dog”. ?Hmm, wouldn’t I like to have given her a piece of my mind, and told her what Henry and I had been talking about. ! Instead I just went and lay down on my old blanket, and left her muttering to herself, which she quite often did these days.

Later that evening I saw her take out some bread so I thought to myself “she is going to make some toast”. “I will hang around for some scraps as I am rather fond of toast”. Sure enough while she was eating it she offered me some pieces but as they had no marmalade on them I refused. You see, I like to have marmalade on my toast, just like these humans do, so I wasn’t having any of her toast without butter and marmalade on it. Of course she knew this, and complained, as usual, that I was ‘spoiled’ and that I should be happy with her ‘offerings’ and not get all ‘uppity’ about marmalade. ! Readers might think from reading this that I really am a little ‘spoiled’ ?

I am not really spoiled, but just trying to make my life a little better, and not so much of a ‘dogs life’. Who can blame me, after all I did have a very sad, and some would say an immensely unhappy puppyhood and early life..About six months after I was born my Mum died. I do not know why, as I was too young to understand. One day she just disappeared and I have never seen her since. Maybe she did not die, but was maybe ‘sent away’ by our owners. ? Whatever the reason I never saw her again. I was of course very lonely and unhappy, and spent many sad days just laying on my blanket and wondering what was to happen to me. My owner was old and could not really care for me properly. My Mum of course, when she was around, was very protective and looked after me and made sure I had plenty of food and took me for long walks, but after she went away there was really nobody to care about me.

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